How Does Acupuncture Help With IVF?
We’re true believers in the benefits of acupuncture. Over 3000 years old, acupuncture is a completely different system from conventional medicine, but we believe that both used alongside one another can be very powerful.Thousands of women have used acupuncture to them prepare for IVF as well as during treatment. We usually recommend treatment prior to a cycle, during stimulation and on the day of transfer.
Research into acupuncture for fertility
There are many research studies that suggest that acupuncture may help in various areas relating to fertility, conception and pregnancy but, as with most research related to complementary treatments, there isn’t enough of it, or of the right sort, to definitely prove (or disprove) its efficacy. However, we are firm believers that it really can work, especially when it is part of a co-ordinated medical/complementary approach, and that it contributes to our levels of success.
Research has been conducted into its use in the following areas:
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Helping to counteract stress levels
- Improving blood circulation to the pelvic organs, including the ovaries and uterus
- Helping to support ovulation dysfunction in some women
- Helping to improve sperm health
What to expect in an Acupuncture session
In our experience, women and men are often slightly anxious on their first visit, especially if they have never had acupuncture before. The sensation you experience is quite personal and can be experienced initially as dullness or tingling around the insertion site, but this is often very pleasant. Once this feeling settles down you ease into a very restful state, making the session deeply relaxing and enjoyable.
It’s important to make sure you are treated according to your own individual circumstances. On your first visit your acupuncturist will take into consideration your medical history and lifestyle, as well as making observational diagnoses.
We like to encourage women to have treatment once a week from at least 2-3 months prior to the start of IVF medication. The reason for this is that follicular growth lasts around 375 days but only during the last 90 days of development will follicles have their own blood supply bringing oxygen, hormones and nutrients to, and waste and secretory products from, the follicle. In other words, follicles will become sensitive and responsive to stimuli coming from the ‘external’ environment.
When should I have acupuncture during IVF?
Acupuncture can be beneficial during the IVF process by helping you relax and improve general wellbeing. It can also help improve blood circulation to the pelvic organs, including the ovaries and uterus.
During IVF there are some key times that acupuncture can be beneficial to support the process - in the lead up to your cycle, before and after embryo transfer and during the two week wait. Some research also suggests that acupuncture on the of the day of the embryo transfer can help increase IVF success rates.
When should I start acupuncture for my IVF cycle?
Acupuncture can be started at any time during your IVF cycle and can be beneficial during both the lead up to your cycle, before and after embryo transfer and during the two week wait.
How many sessions of fertility acupuncture do you need for IVF?
Different clinics may recommend different frequency of acupuncture and it may dependent on different factors including time, age or lifestyle. Generally it is recommend to have acupuncture weekly leading up to embryo transfer. Acupuncture on the day of transfer has also been suggested to improve IVF success rates.
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